February 15, 2021

Wallpaper vs. Paint: The Better Choice

Wallpaper vs. Paint: The Better Choice

It’s an age-old debate - which is better: paint or wallpaper? While the battle between wall paint vs wallpaper is one that has been going on for years, there’s no clear winner - it’s entirely up to your preferences.

Whether you’re new to the home decorating space or are feeling indecisive about whether to paint or wallpaper your home, there are some key advantages and disadvantages to keep in mind when making your decision. Residential painting can set the tone for your space, and ensuring a choice that is timeless and embodies your personal taste is a must to make a house a home. But don’t worry - our team at Oahu Pro Painters is here to help.

To help you through the process of deciding between wallpaper and paint, we are sharing all the information you need to find the right solution for your space. With all the pros and cons, costs, and considerations, we are here to help you make the right decision. Let’s dive right in!

It’s the age-old home decorating choice…wallpaper or paint? Choosing between the two can be difficult as both present several benefits and disadvantages.

At Oahu Pro Painters, we deliver a professional paint job using high-quality, premium paint. Our work delivers a long-lasting finish, and we’ll even help you develop a color scheme that suits your home, taste, and theme.

But, we also think that choice is important, and we’re here to bring you as much information as we can so you can make the right decision. In this piece, we’ll examine the benefits and disadvantages of wallpaper and paint, and hopefully, we’ll help you make the right decision for your home!

Factors to Consider When Choosing Wallpaper and Paint

So, paint or wallpaper: which is better? With so many factors to consider, there’s no wonder the wallpaper and painting debate has gone on for so long. To help make a decision based on your priorities, taste, and preferences, here are the top factors to consider when choosing between wall paint vs wallpaper.


Durability Wallpaper Paint

When it comes to the paint or wallpaper debate, one of the top considerations is durability. Unfortunately, paint is prone to chipping and often needs a touchup through the years in order to keep it looking fresh and clean. Especially in rooms with high moisture, like a bathroom, it’s important to use waterproof paint to enhance durability.

Additionally, in high-traffic rooms, you can expect to repaint your walls at least every 3 to 5 years to keep them in tip-top shape. Thankfully, paint options have evolved over the years, so you can even find options that allow you to scrub away marks so you don’t have to repaint with every new knick and scratch.

On the other side of the debate is wallpaper durability. While older wallpapers may have been more fragile, the latest designs are more durable and easier to clean. However, wallpaper still doesn’t fare well in more moisture-prone rooms, so it is best reserved for living rooms, dining rooms, and bedrooms where moisture levels are low. Worried about messy kids and pets? Opt for vinyl wallpaper options for a more durable design.

Paint Durability Pros & Cons

Still, wondering if the paint is the right choice? Here are the pros and cons you should keep in mind.

Paint Pros:

  • Paint can last up to 10 years - perfect for a long-term finish.
  • Some paint options offer more washable formulas, allowing you to remove marks without a need to repaint.
  • Paint is easier to apply and touch up than wallpaper. So, when a mark does appear, you can quickly touch up a single spot, versus replacing an entire wall of paper.

Paint Cons:

  • Paint can chip, making a room look old and disheveled.
  • More waterproof, washable paint designs can have a more rough, less appealing texture.

Wallpaper Durability Pros & Cons

When it comes to the pros and cons of wallpaper, it’s a close match. To understand the durability of wallpaper, here are our main takeaways.

Wallpaper Pros:

  • Wallpaper can last longer than paint, offering up to 15 years of durability when maintained correctly.
  • This surface is wonderful for high-traffic areas and will show less daily wear and tear.

Wallpaper Cons:

  • Wallpaper must be fitted correctly to avoid unnecessary tearing and a clean finish.
  • Over the years, seams of the wallpaper may lift, requiring repair.
  • Wallpaper is not suitable for damp environments where it may peel away faster.
  • A single mark or tear in wallpaper can require a replacement of an entire wall of paper.


Preparation Wallpaper and Paint

When ensuring a smooth, high-quality finish, whether you choose to paint or wallpaper, the proper preparation is essential to getting your desired results. If your walls are in rough condition and need a bit of fixing, this is when that happens. But how does painting and wallpaper affect that process?

If you choose interior house painting, you must take extra caution and precision during the preparation stage. When painting walls, even the smallest imperfections will be amplified by a fresh coat of paint, so getting a super even, smooth surface is a must.

However, there are different considerations when preparing to wallpaper a space. During your prep, you must make sure that the wallpaper you choose and the current color of your walls are similar. This is especially important when buying a light wallpaper, where you’ll need a light paint color below to avoid skewing the final shade.

Paint Preparation Pros & Cons

When debating wall paint vs wallpaper preparation needs, it’s important to understand the advantages and disadvantages of each. Starting with painting, the pros and cons include:

Paint Pros:

  • The old layers of paint don’t always have to be removed when repainting walls, saving a lot of time.
  • Damage to surfaces is quick to repair with spackle, which will sit for 24 hours prior to priming and painting.
  • Painting requires less preparation time versus the more complicated wallpaper application needs.

Paint Cons:

  • When applying lighter shades over old dark ones, you will have to paint multiple layers, which takes more time and money.
  • Walls must be even in order to get a high-quality finish.

Wallpaper Preparation Pros & Cons

If you’re wondering “why to use wallpaper instead of paint” we’ve got the answers. Here are both the pros, as well as the cons, of choosing wallpaper instead of paint when it comes to the topic of preparation.

Wallpaper Pros:

  • Wallpaper is more durable, so it’s worth the added application time.
  • Walls do not need to be as smooth to apply wallpaper.

Wallpaper Cons:

  • You must remove the old wallpaper to apply the new wallpaper.
  • The paint shade beneath the wallpaper must be similar to the color of the paper, which, in some cases, may require repainting the walls first.


Cost Wallpaper vs Paint

We know what the big question is here - what’s the paint vs wallpaper cost. Don’t worry, we’re breaking it down.

Typically, the paint will cost less upfront than wallpaper when considering just the paint itself. The actual price can vary based on the type of paint, finish, and brand, but usually, it still rings lower than wallpaper. However, opting for the more expensive option is sometimes worth it, especially when higher quality paints are said to last longer.

That being said, if you opt for lower-cost paints, you may have to touch them up every now and then. Additionally, painting requires more than just the paint itself, so take account of added prices for essentials like paint trays, brushes, rollers, tape, and protection for floors and furniture.

But, is paint or wallpaper cheaper? When it comes to wallpaper, your big costs hit right up front with paper costs and the installation materials needed for seamless application. That being said, this option tends to last longer than paint, making it less of a long-term investment. Additionally, you can opt for removable wallpaper to further cut down on costs in the long run if you think you’ll want to replace it over the years.

Paint Cost Pros & Cons

To help better compare paint vs wallpaper cost, we are summing up the pros and cons of paint to help make your decision.

Paint Pros:

  • Paint is a great way to decorate and upgrade a room on a budget, with a range of brands and finishes to suit your pocketbook.
  • Painters, like those at Oahu Pro Painters, offer high-quality painting services, even for the tightest of budgets.
  • Paint is easy to touch up in case any damage occurs.

Paint Cons:

  • Paint doesn't last as long as wallpaper, so there may be more long-term costs to fix it.
  • Having extra paint on hand is needed to maintain walls, but it can boost the initial costs.

Wallpaper Cost Pros & Cons

While many believe wallpaper is a much pricier alternative to paint, this is actually a bit of a misconception. To help you understand, here are the pros and cons of this choice.

Wallpaper Pros:

  • There are more affordable wallpapers on the market to support different budgets.
  • Since they last longer, the long-term costs of wallpaper are often lower.

Wallpaper Cons:

  • Large homes require much more wallpaper, which can add up.
  • It’s important to have extra rolls on hand to fix any damage that may occur over the years.
  • Lower-end wallpaper is more prone to fading, peeling, or damage.


Location Wallpaper Paint

When debating between paint and wallpaper, another key factor is location.

There are some barriers to the application of these wall enhancements, specifically when it comes to more wet areas like bathrooms. Locations that tend to have more moisture are better suited for paint, which will be more durable in these spots and offer a bright pop of color.

While wallpaper has become increasingly durable over the years, it still doesn’t fare well in humid locations like kitchens and bathrooms. If placed in these spots, more frequent repairs may be required, which might not be worth it in the long run. Additionally, if a room gets a ton of light, wallpaper is subject to fading over the years.

Paint Locations Pros & Cons

The last thing you want is to pick out a color you love, and then find out it’s not suited for your space. To help you decide between wallpaper and painting, here are the pros and cons of choosing paint.

Paint Pros:

  • Paint is more durable in various environments, including wet or humid spots like bathrooms and kitchens.
  • Paint is easier to clean if it gets a stain or mark.

Paint Cons:

  • Paint will need touch-ups over the years, especially in these more high-traffic rooms like offices.

Wallpaper Locations Pros & Cons

Wallpaper is a fun, intricate enhancement to your home or office, but it won’t work in all your rooms. Here are the pros and cons of opting for wallpaper.

Wallpaper Pros:

  • Wallpaper is wonderful for dry, well-ventilated rooms.
  • Wallpaper lasts longer than paint, requiring fewer touch-ups.

Wallpaper Cons:

  • The wallpaper will peel in wet environments like bathrooms.
  • Wallpaper may fade in super bright locations.
  • It can get stains in areas like the kitchen, requiring the whole roll of wallpaper to be replaced.


Selection Wallpaper Paint

It’s important to make your home feel like a reflection of you, and in order to do this, you need a wide selection and variety of paint or wallpaper options to find the right one for your space.

When looking at selection and variety when comparing which is better: paint or wallpaper, there are a lot of options for each. As wallpaper makes a comeback, there are endless patterns, hues, and textures available to suit your unique style. Plus, with designs and patterns, you can even further show off your style with a unique print that’s perfect for you. Also, some companies offer custom images or printing to get just the wallpaper you’ve dreamed of.

Paint, on the other hand, comes in a unique range of colors. Coming in every shade you can imagine, paint cans, obviously, feature just one hue. So, if you want a more unique, intricate pattern, you will have to buy a few different shades. But the world is your oyster when it comes to paint variety, and it can even be a bit overwhelming. To assist, our team at Oahu Pro Painters offers color consultations to find the perfect shade for your space.  

Paint Selection and Variety Pros & Cons

There’s a lot to consider when debating paint vs wallpaper: which is the better choice. To help, here are the pros and cons of going with paint when it comes to the selection and variety of options available.

Paint Pros:

  • Paints come in a truly endless range of colors that you can mix and match to create your custom shade.
  • Perfect for solid-colored walls, paint can drench your space in a fresh hue.
  • This is an ideal choice if you’re looking to easily change the style of your home.

Paint Cons:

  • Creating designs with paint takes more expertise and time.
  • Designs and prints won’t always look as precise.

Wallpaper Selection and Variety Pros & Cons

As wallpaper continues to regain popularity, the selection and variety of this wall option have majorly expanded. To help compare to the paint offerings, here are the upsides and downsides of the wallpaper selection.

Wallpaper Pros:

  • There’s a wide range of wallpapers in all styles, colors, and designs.
  • Wallpapers can come in different textures for a more unique finish to walls.
  • Can be made custom for a one-of-a-kind interior.

Wallpaper Cons:

  • Changing wallpaper is a cumbersome task and one that takes much longer, so replacing it frequently isn’t ideal.
  • Wallpaper can cost more, especially when it features a more unique design or texture.


Wallpaper Paint Installation

When it comes to paint, installation is a pretty simple task, even without a professional team. That being said, painting walls requires a heightened need for an even finish, meaning spackling and sanding in advance to create a seamless surface is a must. This can take more time and skill, especially if it’s done by someone without experience. However, even with the necessary repairs, painting a room will still wrap up much faster than wallpaper.

Wallpaper installation requires more skill and precision, causing it to take more time. First, paste must be applied to the wallpaper, unless you choose a peel and stick option. Additionally, patterned wallpapers must align perfectly to create a seamless design, which takes a bit more time and effort to get it right.

Paint Installation Pros and Cons

If you’re wondering which installation process is right for you between wall paint vs wallpaper, here are the pros and cons if you opt for paint.

Paint Pros:

  • Paint is easier and faster to apply than wallpaper, whether a professional does it or not.
  • Professional painters at Oahu Pro Painters can provide high-quality, fast results, even on damaged, uneven walls.

Paint Cons:

  • Painting does require more wall preparation to ensure an even application.

Wallpaper Installation Pros and Cons

Yes, wallpaper does take a bit longer to apply, but are there some benefits? Let’s break it down.

Wallpaper Pros:

  • With a peel and stick design, it can be a faster process, although potentially less durable.

Wallpaper Cons:

  • Wallpaper application requires a great deal of preparation to ensure it’s applied on a flat wall.
  • Old wallpaper must be removed first.
  • More complex patterns must align, further slowing down the process.


Removing Paint Wallpaper

Let’s jump ahead a few years - what will the removal process look like for wallpaper and painting?

Surprisingly, removing paint is a more intricate process than you would expect, although it isn’t always necessary. Removal involves scraping away the old walls, stripping them down, and sanding so they are smooth for a fresh coat. This can lead to a pretty hefty clean-up, too, once the work is done.

For removing wallpaper, a peel and paste choice will come off with ease. On the other hand, a regular wallpaper may take a little more time to scrape away, and when done correctly, won’t cause any damage to the walls below.

Paint Removal Pros & Cons

Who knew removing paint could be so cumbersome? To help you debate the two, here are the pros and cons of choosing paint when it comes to the removal process.

Paint Pros:

  • Removing paint isn’t usually necessary, so a new paint can be applied right on top easily.
  • Purchasing a paint stripper can make the process a lot faster when removing paint, in the case, it’s needed.

Paint Cons:

  • Lighter paints will need multiple layers of repainting over dark walls.
  • Cleanup when removing paint can be messy.
  • Scraping away paint will take a long time.

Wallpaper Removal Pros & Cons

Wallpaper removal doesn’t have to be a dreaded endeavor. To help you understand what’s ahead, here are the pros and cons of choosing wallpaper if you’re already planning the removal process.

Wallpaper Pros:

  • With the right steaming tools, wallpaper can quickly peel away from walls.
  • Press-on wallpapers will come off easier.

Wallpaper Cons:

  • Sometimes, especially with regular wallpaper, removing can take hours and require the right tools to scrape it away.
  • Walls have to be cleaned and repaired after removal to allow for new wallpaper or paint.

Use in Rentals

Wallpaper Paint for Rental

If you’re renting a property, chances are there are some rules around wallpaper and paint.

When it comes to painting, landlords and property owners can be a bit more lenient. Since this is a more temporary wall change that is easy to adjust to a fresh color, it can often be approved in your lease. Plus, it will be quicker to apply and cost less - all things you want to consider when adjusting a room that you may not live in for long.

On the other hand, wallpaper can be a bit more of an iffy situation when it comes to rental properties. Since wallpaper lasts so long and is hard to remove, it is hard to convince a property owner to allow it. Additionally, it’s more expensive and takes more precision for it to look good.

Paint Use in Rentals Pros & Cons

If you’re debating applying a fresh coat of paint to your rental property, here are the pros and cons.

Paint Pros:

  • Easier to apply and ideal for creating a neutral color scheme that a range of tenants will love, allowing them to customize the space with decor to make it their own.
  • If a tenant wants to repaint, it can be covered up once they leave to refresh the walls.

Paint Cons:

  • If a tenant opts for a darker color, it may take a few layers to repaint.
  • Unique, brighter shades can be unappealing to new, more neutral tenants.

Wallpaper Use in Rentals Pros & Cons

Wallpapering a rental property is a whole different ball game. To get a good understanding, here are the pros and cons.

Wallpaper Pros:

  • Will give a rental property a unique style that can be more appealing.
  • The durable design looks exceptional when professionally applied, instantly elevating a space.

Wallpaper Cons:

  • Wallpaper is hard to remove, making returning a rental property to its original state upon departure a bit more taxing.
  • Wallpaper is expensive and hard to apply for a high-quality finish.


2 girls paint

One of the biggest perks of paint is how easy it is to touch up. If a mark appears or a scratch is made, paint can be quickly applied to refresh the mistake. Yet, since paint is less durable, you can expect these touchups yearly to keep walls looking fresh.

So, why use wallpaper instead of paint? Wallpaper is actually easier to wash and clean, making it much easier to maintain through the years. However, a simple scratch can be an eyesore and one that’s challenging to disguise without completely replacing the section, which can be a pain. That being said, if damaged areas aren’t repaired, they can begin peeling off, too.

Paint Maintenance Pros & Cons

Maintaining paint may be easy, but it can also be frequent. To help you weigh the pros and cons, here are some of the aspects to consider when debating painting and wallpaper.

Paint Pros:

  • Touch-ups can be made on the fly, without affecting the rest of the wall.
  • Yearly touch-ups can keep walls looking brand new, no matter how long it has been.
  • Maintenance can be done yourself at a low cost.

Paint Cons:

  • Paint is less durable, requiring more frequent maintenance.
  • Having your home’s paint color on hand is a must, meaning you have to invest in the necessary supplies.

Wallpaper Maintenance Pros & Cons

We’ve talked about the stellar wallpaper durability, and it’s coming into play again as we debate the pros and cons of maintenance. Here’s the lowdown.

Wallpaper Pros:

  • Wallpaper can last up to 15 years, making maintenance infrequent.
  • It’s a surface that’s easy to wipe clean in a cinch.
  • Designs and patterns can disguise any minor marks.

Wallpaper Cons:

  • Significant tears or damage to wallpaper can require the complete replacement of the wallpaper on a wall - a task that is expensive and takes a lot of time.
  • Wallpaper can start peeling off over the years, so you must have the necessary materials to stick it back down.          

Wallpaper or Paint: Which is Better?

What is Better Wallpaper or Paint

So, paint vs wallpaper: which is the better choice? Ultimately, the decision is yours, and the right selection for your home depends on what’s most important to you.

We know, that doesn’t exactly answer your debate between wallpaper and painting. If you’re still stuck deciding between wallpaper and paint, we are breaking down when we recommend choosing paint, versus when to choose wallpaper.

Choose paint if….

  • You will benefit from a washable surface
  • You want a specific shade that hasn’t been easy to find in a wallpaper
  • You aren’t concerned about timing or the necessary skilled labor involved in refreshing your space
  • You have children and animals in the home that may tear at a more sensitive surface like wallpaper

Choose wallpaper if…

  • You want to create a unique accent wall
  • You want an option that will upgrade your home in an instant
  • You are looking to update a space that experiences little moisture and humidity
  • You want a quick solution for a damaged surface
  • You are sensitive to the smell of paint
  • You don’t want to worry about too much maintenance over the years

Your Local Painting Professionals

Oahu Pro Painters is a team of local painting professionals with years of experience transforming homes of all sizes.

Contact us today and we’ll help you develop a style and color theme, and create a custom home decorating plan that suits your budget!

Sign Up For A Free Estimate Online Today, Or Call Us At 808-468-5604

Sign Up For A Free Estimate Online Today, Or Call Us At 808-468-5604

Sign Up For A Free Estimate Online Today, Or Call Us At 808-468-5604

Sign Up For A Free Estimate Online Today, Or Call Us At 808-468-5604

Sign Up For A Free Estimate Online Today, Or Call Us At 808-468-5604

Sign Up For A Free Estimate Online Today, Or Call Us At 808-468-5604

Sign Up For A Free Estimate Online Today, Or Call Us At 808-468-5604

Sign Up For A Free Estimate Online Today, Or Call Us At 808-468-5604

Wallpaper vs. Paint: The Better Choice
Written By:
Karl Van Zadnt

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